Police leaders, lawmakers call for ‘9/11-type’ commission on Capitol attack

A former NYPD commissioner and Houston’s Chief of Police joined calls to investigate why law enforcement was unprepared for the events of Jan. 6


By Suzie Ziegler 

In the fallout after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, some police leaders and lawmakers are calling for a national commission to investigate the events of that day. Among them are former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, a freshman congressman, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. 

According to The Hill, Bratton urged the creation of a national commission similar to the one that investigated the 9/11 terror attacks. 

“There was a colossal failure to collaborate and coordinate,” said Bratton, who served as the head of NYPD from 1994-1996 and 2014-2016. 

“I cannot believe that it happened in Washington because they’ve done this for 50 years,” Bratton continued. “They know how to deal with these demonstrations. They decided to go low-key on this. And that’s going to be part of the investigation. Why did they low-key it? Why were the officers not in riot gear? Why were there not more of them?” 

On Jan. 8, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) announced he’s introducing a bill that calls to establish “a national commission to investigate the terrorist attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6,” according to the Bronx Times. The proposed Congressional Oversight of Unjust Policing Act would investigate “the systemic failures in the United States Capitol security apparatus,” according to the Times. 

“We need a 9/11-type commission to investigate what happened here,” Bowman told the Times.

From left to right, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Congressman Jamaal Bowman and former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton.
From left to right, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Congressman Jamaal Bowman and former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh/Charles Krupa/Richard Drew/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, is among the voices calling for a national commission. The day after the siege Bowser called on Congress to establish a panel to investigate security lapses, according to CNBC

“Congress must create a nonpartisan commission to understand the catastrophic security failures that happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, both to hold people accountable and to ensure that it never happens again,” Bowser said in a statement. 

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also joined the calls for a national commission. Acevedo echoed Bratton’s concerns that agencies were aware of credible security threats but did not act appropriately. 

“By the end of Jan. 6, our federal partners found that the support for law and order these terrorists have is thinner than the ‘Thin Blue Line’ on the flags they waved while ransacking our historic Capitol,” Acevedo wrote in an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle on Jan. 14. 

“The monumental law enforcement failure on Jan. 6 demands answers and requires accountability. For these reasons, I support creation of a national commission,” Acevedo continued. “We can no longer pretend ‘it can’t happen here.’ It did.” 

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